Orioles manager Buck Showalter was impressed tonight with Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who retired 12 in a row heading into the fifth inning and took a 4-1 lead into the sixth before the Yankees tied the game.
“Pitched well, pitched well, especially after the way things started,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, it bodes well for him. You can tell one thing, he’s got some toughness about him. I thought he got better as the game went on against obviously a very potent lineup. I thought he presented himself real well. I was real proud of him. A lot of things could have gotten away from him, but he handled himself well. Pretty impressive, 26-year-old man making his debut in that environment. That was good.”
Chen gave up a leadoff homer to Derek Jeter and a double to Nick Swisher - the first two batters he’s faced in the majors. Perhaps he was nervous.
“If he was, he was hiding it well,” Showalter said. “He reacted to that the same way after he struck two or three guys out. It’s not like those guys who score a touchdown and act like it’s the first time they’ve been in the end zone in their life. I love the way he handled his success and some of the challenges. It looks like he’s done this before, and he has in some pressure situations, so I’m looking forward to seeing him in four or five days.
“If he pitches like he did tonight, he’ll have a lot of success. His changeup was a good pitch for him tonight. He did a lot of different things with the baseball. Once he got the ball down...he was up in the first inning. I saw Rick (Adair) and him talk about it. Once he got the ball down, he makes quality pitches, he’ll get people out in America, Japan or Taiwan. He’s got a good arm, good arm action on all his pitches. Everything looks from the same slot coming out. So far, so good.”
The bullpen shut out the Yankees for 5 1/3 innings before they scored the go-ahead run in the 12th against Pedro Strop.
“Our pitching staff pitched real well tonight and I’m really proud of them,” Showalter said. “Just about everybody pitched really well. It’s just one of those things. We had some opportunities we didn’t quite cash in on offensively, but we did a lot of good things tonight, especially from the pitching department. Wei-Yin getting us as far as he got us. We didn’ t walk as many people tonight and that gave us a chance to win the game. I think they had double the hits we had. That’s how you lose that game last night and why wee were in this game tonight and had a good chance to win it.”
Mark Reynolds’ error led to two unearned runs off Chen in the sixth. He also misplayed a foul ball in extra innings.
“He had a couple of really good plays, too, and early in the season,” Showalter said. “Mark’s going to do some good things. He started out a little slow last year with the bat. He’ll get it going and he’ll be a big contributor for us.”
The Orioles went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position after going 2-for-15 on Monday. They’re batting .146 (6-for-41) with RISP.